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FootballCrystal Palace v Man City: Goal thrills Liverpool and Arsenal as Mateta...

Crystal Palace v Man City: Goal thrills Liverpool and Arsenal as Mateta scores… but De Bruyne replies

Manchester City suffered an early blow in their bid to move top of the Premier League on Saturday when Jean-Philippe Mateta fired hosts Crystal Palace ahead in the third minute at Selhurst Park to give Liverpool and Arsenal a promising start to the weekend – but Kevin De Bruyne rapidly replied.

Forward Mateta charged on to Adam Wharton’s incisive pass and finished clinically past Stefan Ortega, continuing to deputise for injured City first-choice goalkeeper Ederson.

City manager Pep Guardiola sank into his chair and appeared to voice his annoyance in response to the goal, which was Frenchman Mateta’s fourth under new Palace boss Oliver Glasner.

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The Austrian could not contain his delight in the opposite technical area, punching the air to celebrate.

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand picked out one of his successors at the back for the Three Lions as culpable for City falling behind.

“John Stones made two mistakes in the phase of play of the goal,” said the six-time Premier League winner with Manchester United, speaking on TNT Sports.

“He passes it and gives it away but his first motion was to go to the ball and go square. The moment he did that, when Mateta went behind him there was no way he was going to catch up.

“I’m sure City will look at that at half-time. They’ve got to improve in the middle areas when they’re building up play.”

De Bruyne goal v Palace thrills City

There was relief for Guardiola 10 minutes later when De Bruyne – restored to City’s starting line-up alongside Stones and top scorer Erling Haaland – stylishly equalised.

De Bruyne has had a mixed season so far as the midfielder works his way back from a long-term hamstring injury but scored his third goal of the campaign by cutting inside from the left and lashing in a terrific finish from just outside the penalty area.

Guardiola reacted by appearing to blow a kiss at the talismanic midfielder on a day when City were desperate to avoid dropping points.

The reigning champions began three points behind leaders Liverpool and two short of second-placed Arsenal, who they shared a 0-0 draw with six days earlier. Each team had eight league games remaining.

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